Starting a blog is one of the best ways to make money from home and in this post I’m going to teach you how to make a blog that will actually help you make money (not cause you headaches, I’ve been there). And this is assuming that you already know how to build a blog that makes money.
Heads up! This is a “how to start a wordpress blog tutorial” so if you are bent on starting a blog on a platform that isn’t wordpress (see the “where to create a blog” for why you shouldn’t do that) then this isn’t the “start a blog guide” for you.
Don’t know what that means? No worries, just read on.
Here’s what we’ll be talking about.
- What to know before starting a blog
- Where to create a blog
- How and where to buy reliable hosting.
- How to Install wordpress the right way
- How to choose and install the perfect wordpress theme
- What to do next?
- Starting a blog FAQs
*This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you. See disclosure for details.
Pin it first so you don’t lose it. (incase you get hijacked by your little boss(es).
You can click on the quick links above to read a specific potion that interests you or simply follow the step by step process. Whatever you do, try to get to the end of this post because I’ve included some extra steps most start a blog tutorials miss – and that’s the part that actually sets you up for success AKA making money blogging 🙂
Lets do it!
1. What to Know Before Starting a Blog – The Real Truth
Anyone can start a blog in 20 mins but the real challenge is making money off a blog. If you are starting a blog to make money, here are some things you’ll wish you knew a few months down. And if these things don’t deter you (and cost me my webhosting affiliate commissions yikes!) after you’ve read them, then YOU were born to blog. And you will succeed, it’s a promise.
- It’s not an “easy” way to make money online, atleast not in the beginning.
- You can’t make money blogging just writing about the things you love. You have to write about things that people are actively searching for and write it in a way that helps them, not you.
- You won’t start a blog today and show up on google tomorrow, it takes time, effort, maybe some money and most importantly a plan.
- You can’t start a blog for free and make money, but you can start a blog for less than $40 and make $4,000 monthly a year from now (or more!).
- You maybe an introvert but you’ll have to socialize to get your blog off the ground. Don’t worry I am too but I’ve come to love socializing with my blogging friends! You can follow my lead, see how I do it with the free blog plan.
- Blogging income scales! Once you hit the right note it takes off and you can then have your dream of a 4-hour work week or sell your blog for 24x your monthly income!
- You’ll need a plan to succeed, you can get a great one now for free or make yours after months of going round in circles 🙂
2. Where to Create a Blog (so you don’t spend the next year pulling your hairs out!)
One word, W. O. R. D. P. R. E. S. S.
This is why you should only start a self hosted wordpress blog:
- Support – Lots of people have used it for years so every issue that will ever arise for you will be easily resolved with a bit of googling. There’s also the added benefit of being easily integrated with the majority of tools you’ll be needing for your journey.
- It’s easy to use – After the first process of installing wordpress which I’ll guide you through in the post, wordpress is just as easy to use as any other content management platform aka blogging site.
- Control – Your wordpress blog is completely yours so you can do as you see fit, almost. You can add ads from any ad network you want, you can get rid of the annoying credit link in the footer that screams “free!” and “newbie!”… there’s so much to this really.
- Google Friendly – WordPress was configured to help you get on the first page of google quickly when you know how. It’s speedy, has the right structure.
- Extremely customizable – You can get cool themes and plugins for just about anything you want to do for free. Most of the time. I show you my favorite plugins at the end of the post.
- Security – We’ve got all the cool kids working to keep our beloved wordpress constantly updated and secure so you don’t have to worry about hackers.
- All the cool kids use it so you get to join the ranks of the cool kids 😉
3. Where to Buy Reliable Web Hosting for Cheap
Your hosting is the most important building block for your blog. If your hosting goes down even for a minute, you lose money. if it’s not as fast, you lose people and if it doesn’t do what you want it to do, you lose your mind.
If your hosting goes down even for a minute, you lose money. if it’s not as fast, you lose people and if it doesn’t do what you want it to do, you lose your mind.
There are several hosting services to choose from like
Lots of them!
And almost all hosting services look the same in the beginning so if you don’t know what you should be looking for in a web hosting service, you’ll probably make the wrong choice.
What is the best hosting for your blog? Here are the top 5 things that count.
- Security: Website hacks are from bad hosting 41% of the time. Also make sure your host can get you free SSL Certificates that help encrypt data. Some browsers will label your site as insecure or not show it at all otherwise. You can tell if a blog has an SSL Certificate when you see “https” instead of “http” on the web address like this https://findingbalance.mom
- Reliability: You don’t want your site down, ever. That one minute it’s down could be your magic viral moment and you lose it. So it’s important to work with a hosting company that is reliable and keeps downtimes to a minimum. I use uptime robot to monitor uptime for free and my host has never let me down for even a second.
- Speed. It’s a major ranking factor for google, pinterest and even people will come back to your site when it doesn’t take them an hour to load each page.
- Flexibility: It’s hard to predict how well your blog will do and how fast so you need to start with a hosting company that will grow with you.
- Cost: in the beginning of your blogging journey when you haven’t yet started pulling in the moolahs, it’s best to keep cost down as much as possible. Don’t go splurging on anything above $75 that first year. Infact, you can take advantage of my favorite webhost’s anniversary sale to lock in a 60% lifetime discount at $38 per year today.
Here’s how to get that deal of $38 per year:
Step #1 Go the Geekstorage homepage and click on “Unlimited hosting”, it’s first on the top bar. You can also find it by scrolling down the homepage.
Step #2 Click “Get started” on the “Economy” Plan, this should suffice for now.
You’ll be taken to another page that looks like this, leave everything as is.
Step #4 In the “Choose Your Domain Name” Section, enter your preferred domain name and click search to confirm that it’s available. If it is, you’ll get it for free, if it isn’t keep trying till you get one that is.
The other option is to use an existing domain which is what I advise. See why below.
You can get a domain name from namecheap that comes with a free privacy protection. This helps protect your information from spammers.
Step #5 After you’ve added your preferred domain name, fill the rest of your information and click on “confirm order”.
You will receive a confirmation email with the link to your account after checkout.
3 more things you should know when buying hosting:
- It’s best to buy your domain name separately from a company like Namecheap which is what I use, so that you can have the control needed to run your website without the interference of your webhost.
- Beware of pricing tricks: Like this famous choice for beginners offer their hosting at 2.95 only to jack up the price at renewal time. Siteground does it too. it’s one of the reasons I only recommend Geekstorage and Lyrical Host.
- Beware of resellers: Just about anyone can pretend to be a real web host and just be reselling someone else’s products and while I love to support small businesses, resellers often oversell their server resources so that you experience unreasonable downtimes. It happened to me in the beginning.
4. How to install wordpress in 5 mins (and configure it the right way)
Because the thought of installing and configuring wordpress may seem so daunting to beginners, most people decide to opt for done for you blogging sites and they all regret it in the end.
I’m here to make that seemingly difficult task of installing wordpress easy for you with step by step photos and a great youtube video. Try to keep up 🙂
Installing WordPress: Step 1
Log into your “Cpanel” following the instructions sent to you via email. It will look like this.
Scroll all the way to the bottom where it says “Softaculous Apps Installer” and click on wordpress to begin the install.
Installing WordPress: Step 2
On the new page that comes up, watch out for the “In Directory” that already has “wp” filled, erase that and leave it blank then go ahead and install.
Installing WordPress: Step 3
You’ll see something like this, don’t leave the page until it completes and you are done! You will receive an email from softaculous as confirmation that you officially own a wordpress blog.
Here’s a great video you may find useful.
5. How to Choose the Right WordPress Theme You, Google and Your Readers Will Love
This is what I mean when I say theme by the way 😉
So while it may be tempting to look for the prettiest of the pretty feminine wordpress themes available, here are some questions you should definitely ask before you install any wordpress theme.
- Is it mobile responsive? The majority of internet users access blogs and websites from their phones.
- What is the purpose of your blog? Do you have products to sell? Do you want to drive traffic to an online store? Do you want to showcase your services or your work? Whatever you want to do, there’s a different theme for it.
- How tech savvy are you? If you are tech savvy and know a bit of CSS code, you could easily alter some elements of a theme to be exactly what you want but if you aren’t, best stick with themes that ALREADY LOOK exactly as you want.
- What is the quality behind it? From the quality of the designer, to the number of themes the store has, to the number of people already using it. How often is the theme updated? This is usually an indication of attention to security and is important because next to web hosting, themes are the weakest security link.
Quick Tip: When choosing a theme, look past the feminine fonts, pretty pictures and even the feminine colors. Those can be changed up. What can’t be changed without great effort for the most part is the layout. Look at the blog design of other sites doing what you intend to do and go theme hunting with a picture in mind.
About paid or free wordPress themes, paid themes will save you A LOT of headache because: Support and Updates! That’s it. These are my favorite feminine wordpress themes by the way. But if you love to tweak things, know a bit about security and have the time, you could very well build a gorgeous website with a free theme.
How to install a wordpress theme
There are 2 ways to install a wordpress theme. From the wordpress theme directory in the case of free themes or via upload in the case of paid themes, custom themes or themes not available in the directory.
It’s pretty easy to install a wordpress theme, just follow along.
From the wordpress admin (usually yoursitename.com/wp-admin) click on “Appearance”, then “Themes”
Then click “Add New”
Next depending on whether you’ll be using a free theme or a paid one, click “Upload theme” or select any of the themes you find in the directory. That’s it! You are now a proud owner of your own beautiful wordpress blog.
How to install a wordpress theme video
You officially own a blog now but read on for some interesting FAQs + extra steps to take.
What to Do After You Start A Blog
The first thing I do when I create a blog is to add a Security plugin as well as an antispam, backup and caching plugin.
Here are the free plugins I recommend because they are effective and go easy on your servers:
- Antispam Bee
- Ithemes Security
- Updraft backup plugin
- Litespeed Cache (this is especially compatible with geekstorage hosting.)
Don’t know what a plugin is not to talk of how to install one? No worries, plugins are pre-coded elements that give your site extra functionality. Here’s how to install one.
Go to your dashboard and click “Plugins” then “Add New”
Enter a keyword in the search bar, you’ll see the plugin come up with an “Install Now” like with the Spam Notifier plugin below.
When you click “install now” the plugin installs and asks you to “Activate”. After that, it becomes active like my Antispam bee plugin below.
How to install a wordpress plugin video
But your site won’t start making money on plugins and themes alone, here’s what to do next.
Psst! Download the blog plan and use the checklist in it to follow through all this steps and more. >> FREE BLOG PLAN
Write Blog Posts and Important Pages
- Write engaging blog posts using these blog post ideas.
- Write your blog Legal Pages..
- Write a kickass about me page you visitors will love.
Make your blog beautiful
- Remove the META login area in your sidebar. APPEARANCE > EDITOR > SIDEBAR.
- Increase font size to 15px atleast.
- Take a free blog design course.
Optimize your blog
- Create a Google Search Console account.
- Change your url permalink structure to use “post name” as default.
- Submit a sitemap.
- Signup for email management services Convertkit or Mailerlite
- Add valuable optin freebies.
Promote your blog
- Set up a pinterest business account.
- Sign up for tailwind. (One Month Free).
- Apply to group boards and tailwind tribes.
- Take a great Pinterest Course.
- Read a book on getting blog traffic.
Monetize your blog
Get the rest of the lined out process and much more when you download the FREE BLOG PLAN, click the picture to learn more.
How To Make A Blog FAQs
Who can make a blog?
Anyone can! But it takes drive, effort and a lot of time investment to build a successful blog.
You can take this quiz to see if you are likely to succeed at blogging.
How much does it cost to make a blog?
As we’ve discussed before, blogging is one of the very few huge ROI investment you can make for as little as $38 per year. It’s really a no brainer.
But to speed up your blog growth, you may find there are some hidden costs for training and tools but those aren’t compulsory, they only help.
How do I know what to blog about?
Usually to build a successful blog, you’ll need to blog about things that people are actively searching for. You would have to know quite a bit about the topic too.
My post on profitable blogging niches should help you pinpoint the best blogging niche to enter if you want to make money blogging.
How do I choose a blog name?
I found a great post on this I would really love you to read but if you would rather not. Then try to choose a blog name that is at least:
- Not confusing
- Easy to pronounce
- Not easily misspelt
- Not restrictive
- Not hyphenated or numerical
I’m not techie can I make a blog without wordpress
Yes of course. There are bloggers out there making money without wordpress but if I’m going to be honest, wordpress is your best bet.
You know after the initial set up phase, wordpress becomes just as easy as the other blogging sites, microsoft word if you will. And some great and reliable web hosts like Lyrical Host will make you forget you ever said wordpress was hard with their incredible support.
Do bloggers really make money?
Of course! Just check out this pinterest board full of honest blog income reports from moms like you.
Hey you made it to the end! You can ask questions in the comments section and/or send me an email and I’ll be sure to respond swiftly.
Found this post helpful? Please consider pinning it to a relevant board. XO
Freelance writer, graphic designer and mother. Lily helps young moms who are eager to break into the online business world quickly build online empires of their own through blogging smartly. Her motto, “Do smarter, have all”. Find her sharing smart blogging tips on her blog or interacting with smart blogging moms in her facebook group for Mompreneurs.