You can start a money making blog if you follow these step by step instructions! Get your blog ready to make money with this easy to read, step by step guide with pictures.
Why should you start a blog?
I’m not going to lie, starting a blog can be pretty time consuming and a lot of work.
But it’s also extremely rewarding and fun!
I started a blog as a way to earn some passive income for my family while writing about my life as a mom and nurse. I decided I was going to take a chance on myself, and give it a try. The worst thing that could happen was…nothing…and if I hated it I could stop at any time.
Not going to lie, the first few weeks were rough. But I was SO determined to figure it out. I love learning new things, and decided to see this as a challenge.
There were many many times I thought about quitting but nevertheless, pulled through. I simply decided I was not going to fail at this and I had to prove to myself that I could do it.
After the initial learning curve was conquered, I found that I LOVE blogging.
The main reasons I love blogging are:
- It’s something that is mine
- When I write a really good post, I feel accomplished and complete. It doesn’t reset and start over the next day like the dishes and laundry
- It earns passive income for me and my family (without hours and hours of work away from home)
- Disclaimer: in the beginning, I spent several hours a day trying to figure everything out. I have never been a web designer, graphic designer, or have any experience marketing whatsoever. I am a wife, mom, and labor and delivery nurse. Heck, I went to nursing school…they don’t cover this in nursing school!!
- It’s a fantastic hobby
- It does not cost much (and actually makes me money!)
- There are no set hours or minimal requirements
Starting a blog can be very intimidating! I promise, you CAN do it. You WILL be successful if you want to be.
You may want to start a blog because:
- You have fantastic ideas the world needs to hear
- You have a business, big or small (it could even be an Etsy shop!) that you’d like to promote
- Your entrepreneurial spirit wants to build a business
- You have a creative side that needs to be used
- It’s a fun hobby
- You love to write
- Challenging yourself is fun
This post will go through each and every step you need to take to start your own money making blog. I truly feel like blogging has changed my life, and I think it could do the same for you.
If your first thought is, “I’d love to write a blog about ________, but there are TONS of bloggers out there who write about the same thing!”
STOP THOSE THOUGHTS. NOW. There is only ONE you. Only ONE person who can write things the way you do, and there is room for you, too.
I don’t feel very threatened by other bloggers in my niche because I write differently than them! Someone may love my posts and not like theirs (or vice versa) even though they have the same info.
YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.
Buckle your seat belts: this is a LONG post. That’s because I want to be very thorough and make sure every aspect is fully covered before moving on. Starting a blog is very easy, even if it does seem overwhelming at first.
If you just want to blog for fun, you can still follow these instructions! And later if you decide to start a money making blog, you can implement the last section’s tools to earn an income.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if a purchase is made using the links on this post, I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. I am only recommending products and services I personally use and love. These purchases help keep These Hungry Kids up and running. Thank you! 🙂
1. Pick Your Niche
Your niche is your area of interest, and what your blog posts will be about.
To pick your niche, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What do I like to do?
- What am I knowledgeable about?
- What am I passionate about?
- What kind of audience do I want to write for?
When I started my blog, I intended to mostly post recipes and about the fun activities I do with my kids.
Then one day I read a TERRIBLE post from a well known blogger with a ton of misinformation about labor and delivery. I decided to put out a similar post with CORRECT information, and that’s how I posted my biggest article to date: How to Rock Your Labor Like a Pro. In this post, I talk about labor from start to finish in this post, and I have received tons of excellent feedback on it (this went viral on Reddit)!
It felt amazing, so I started to post more about labor and delivery.
Now, my focus is “everything mommy” from recipes, to pregnancy, raising kids, labor delivery, and on. It fits me perfectly, because it includes everything that I’m passionate about.
My point is: you may start with a narrow list of topics, and that may expand.
That’s ok! My niche is very broad, and it actually works for me because I am able to attract a larger age range for viewership. If I only posted about labor and delivery, I’d really only have 18-40 year olds looking at my site. Since I also post about recipes and raising children, I appeal to an older population as well.
You also don’t want to pick something too narrow. Maybe you have an alpaca farm, and you want to post about that. However, a quick Google search shows there are only 53,000 alpacas in the US, which wouldn’t give you a lot of traffic. Instead, you could make your blog about farming, and within your site post about alpacas.
2. Pick Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the name of your site. My domain name is TheseHungryKids.com.
Picking a domain name is tough. It was by far the hardest part for me (and I actually don’t really like my domain name!).
It should be something related to your niche and have a catchy ring to it. Avoid something too long, or with words that are commonly misspelled.
Many bloggers use their name in the title. I did not use my name because my name (Lindsey) has SO many different spellings and I didn’t want to direct someone to the wrong site because they misspelled my name.
You should also try to be a “.com” instead of a “.blog” or “.org”, etc. When people want to visit your site again, they are going to assume you are a .com. If .com is taken by someone else and you used a .org, when the person types in your domain name and accidentally writes .com, they will be sent to the wrong site.
That brings me to my next point: try not to pick something too similar to an existing site!
If your name is Sally and you love cooking, but Sallycooks.com is taken, you aren’t going to want to be Sallycooksfood.com. People are going to remember “Sally Cooks,” and when they type that in they are going to someone else’s site instead of yours.
To summarize picking your domain name:
- It should relate to your niche
- Make it a .com
- Domain name should be unique, not too close to someone else’s name
- Should not be super long
- It should not include commonly misspelled words
Check to see if your domain name is available below:
3. Use a Self-Hosting Platform
Now, you can start a blog for free on a platform like WordPress.com (not to be confused with wordpress.org) or SquareSpace, but there are a TON of rules about making money on those sites. Most of the free platforms don’t allow any ads, affiliate links or sponsored posts.
In order to have a money making blog, whether it be now or in the future, you really need to pick a self-hosted platform.
This means you are free to create your site however you want. You’ll need access to a third party server to host your site’s files on, and that’s where Bluehost comes in.
Bluehost is the hosting platform, where you basically “rent” servers to run your site on. You create the site however you’d like, and Bluehost runs the background stuff.
This only costs a few dollars a month, and gives you the potential to literally make thousands of dollars! (YES, BLOGGERS CAN REALLY MAKE THAT MUCH MONEY!!). Skip the Starbucks drive thru once a month and you can be on a self hosted platform.
I have had a wonderful experience with Bluehost, which is why I recommend them. Choosing a hosting platform is really personal preference, but I have to speak very highly of my experience so far with Bluehost.
Reasons I love Bluehost:
- Every time I have had to contact customer service, I can speak to a person (yes, a REAL LIVE PERSON) in a matter of minutes.
- I’ve had to use their customer support MANY times. Remember: I went to nursing school! I have ZERO experience in writing, marketing, social media, etc. Yet, I still have a successful blog!!
- I’ve made really silly mistakes on my blog, and Bluehost never made me feel like the idiot I was and was always happy to help me with my problems. You can even try FREE for 30 days before you commit!
- It’s inexpensive!
2. Select your plan
3. Select your domain name
A domain name is included with your purchase no matter which plan you choose.
If you haven’t decided on a domain name, you can select “I’ll create my domain later” on the bottom of the page.
4. Enter account info and payment info
5. Pick your package and add-on options
Read through and decide what you think you’d like for your site. It will really be a personal decision.
I do recommend getting the email service for 30 days. It looks more professional to have ____@____.com as your email address, vs. using a gmail or yahoo account.
6. Create a password and log-in
YAY! You’re doing great. You’re almost there! The next few steps will be about creating the actual website. You’ve got this!
7. Create your website!
This is the exciting part. Now that you’ve chosen a niche and domain name, you need to set your website up.
You’ll see the screen below on your browser:
Ideally, your title is the same as your domain name.
Your tagline is a quick 2-3 sentence blurb about what your website is about. On some website design themes, your tagline will show.
You should also select if you plan to sell things from this website.
8. Tell Bluehost what kind of website you are and what your goals are.
9. Select a website theme
This is your website’s basic layout and design. You can easily change this later! It may take a few different tries to find the one you like. You can customize the themes to your taste, or you may find you wish to pay for a fancier one.
10. Install WordPress and start building your site!
WordPress is how you build your site. It’s very easy to use, and it makes it so dummies like me can have a website.
Bluehost automatically downloads WordPress.org (not the free version of WordPress) so that you can monetize your site with things like advertisements, affiliate links, product sales and sponsored posts.
Within WordPress, you’ll write your posts, create your menus, customize your theme, and really do everything to your site.
4. Start Creating Killer Content!
Aim to have 10-15 posts before launching your site!
One of these posts should be an “About Me” section. Let your readers know who you are and why they should listen to you!
If your blog is about Health and Fitness, include in your about me that you’re a marathon runner who has a passion for nutrition and fitness.
Your domain name might be MarathonMaddie.com (which is available as I write this!) and your first few posts may be titled “How to Find Your Running Playlist,” ”How to Train for Your First Marathon,” “Best Foods for Sore Muscles,” etc.
Whenever you write a post, you should include backlinks to other posts. This keeps readers on your site!
So, if Marathon Maddie writes that post titled “How to Find Your Running Playlist,” she should also include a link within that post for “How to Train for Your First Marathon.” This not only keeps readers on your site, but it makes search engines happy. That’s a post for another day, but it’s a good idea to make including backlinks a habit.
5. Start Your Email List Immediately!
You’re probably thinking, “I dont need to start that yet! I’ll do it later!”
I thought the same thing and didn’t focus on email lists until well into my second month. I wish I had started MUCH sooner. In fact, every blogger I’ve ever met has said the same thing.
Even if you only gain 2 subscribers a week, that’s better than 0 subscribers!
Remember: subscribers are your people. They are the ones that are saying, “hey! This stuff is great! I’d be happy to read more like this.” You want to gather as many of those people as possible!
I have tried a few different email services, and I have had the best success with MailerLite. They seem to do everything I want (pop-up forms, subscription forms, automated emails, etc.) without having to pay a ton of money!
It’s free until you reach 1,000 subscribers, and then you pay a small monthly fee. Once your blog is bigger, you may want to switch over to a larger company. It’s very easy to do, so I would recommend starting with their free service. It will be more than you need to start.
To start using MailerLite, go to the Plugins on the right hand sidebar of your WordPress page. Click “add new” which will bring you to a search page. Type in MailerLite, click Install and then Activate. You’ll need to create an account on the MailerLite website, and then sync it to your account (sounds hard, but actually very easy with their instructions!)
6. Set Up Social Media
There has to be some way that your readers will find you. Social media is the perfect way to get traffic, especially since it can take awhile to show up in search engines.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram…there’s a lot to think about!
Start with ONE and master it before moving onto the next.
I currently only use Pinterest and Facebook and I’ve had great success with those. I’ve toyed around with the idea of starting Instagram, too, but my growth has been awesome and I’m just not ready to launch in the Insta world yet.
My advice: START WITH PINTEREST!!
Facebook’s algorithm makes it difficult to be seen. Only some of your posts will show up on your follower’s feed.
I have more Facebook followers than Pinterest followers, yet the vast majority of my traffic comes from Pinterest!
Basics of Pinterest
Pinterest is a hybrid social media and search engine system. It’s a blogger’s go-to and it’s where you need to start!
There are tons of bloggers that post about Pinterest and how to be successful. I recommend starting with this free course by Mckinzie of Moms Make Cents. It’s a great place to start (I also bought her Pinterest eBook. It’s great!!)
When you start your Pinterest account, you should set up a Pinterest business account.
Your account name should be YOURNAME | YOUR DOMAIN NAME and your description should include key words that will help people find you within Pinterest.
To continue the example above, it would look like:
Madison | Marathon Maddie
I’m a fitness junkie and passionate marathon runner. I post about running, marathons, health, fitness, workouts, and more!
Next, make VERY specific personal boards, and join a bunch of group boards related to your niche as well.
Marathon Maddie may have boards titled Running for Beginners, Running Exercises, Running Playlists, Fitness Motivation, Running Quotes, Health Advice, Healthy Recipes, etc.
Aim to have at least 10-15 very specific personal boards. A board labeled, “Best running shoes” is going to do better than a board labeled, “Exercise.” Make sure to edit the description of the boards and continue using key words and phrases so that Pinterest can find the boards.
Pro tip: don’t make a cutesy title! Make it short, sweet and to the point. Think about what someone looking for your posts may search, and name your board that.
Every time you write a post, make 2-3 pinnable images to go with that post. Pinnable images are ones that Pinterest favors, and should be vertical, with 600 x 900 or 600 x 1250 as the dimensions.
Many people use photoshop to edit and create these pins. I personally use Canva, because as I mentioned above, I have no graphic design experience and I’m a big noob.
Canva makes it easy to create beautiful images for your Pinterest account.
You can use their services for free, or you can pay to upgrade for premium features.
There are templates to try, as well as photos you can use for your pins. It is seriously SOOOO easy to use. There are tons of colors, fonts, layouts, photos, etc. to choose from!
I have basically designed my entire site using Canva. From my logo, to cover photo, to Pinterest/Facebook images, to freebies, and more…it’s seriously the best program ever.
There are TONS of Pinterest strategy eBooks out there, and the algorithm changes quite a bit. But here is the number one thing that will get your pins seen:
Whenever you make a new post, you’ll want to upload them to relevant boards on Pinterest. Start with the most relevant boards, and then move on.
Example: If I post a soup recipe, I’m first going to post it to the “Soup Recipe” board, followed by “Dinner Recipes,” followed by “Healthy Recipes” and so on. This helps Pinterest figure out who to show my post to and what it’s about.
You also want to make sure your images are clear, the letters are big and bold, and your description is loaded with keywords.
Think about what someone is going to search for in the Pinterest search bar when they are trying to find your post, and include that in your description.
You did it!!!!!
If you’ve made it this far and completed the steps, you did it!! You’ve started a blog with infinite potential.
You should be very excited and proud.
Ways to Make Money with a Blog
Blogging is NOT a get rich quick scheme. It takes months of hard work to become profitable. Think of it more as a long term investment.
I’ve read many times that most bloggers don’t see an income for 6 months after they start their blog, and many are able to have blogging become their only source of income between 1-2 years after starting their blog. It takes time to build trusted readers and a good following.
I am fortunate that I started making money on my second full month of blogging. Am I making enough that we can all quit our jobs and live in a mansion? NO. Not even close. But I am excited to see what will come of my blogging journey!
When I started earning some money from blogging, I had about 10,000 monthly page views. I’m on track for WAY more than that this month!
That’s crazy exciting to me. Heck, I’m a noobie blogger, with NO experience, yet my traffic has been booming! It can for you, too.
I blog for a few hours a day while the kids nap or after they’re in bed, so I was definitely not expecting to see success so quickly.
Ways to make money blogging:
- When you start getting a little traffic and have your blog mostly set up, you can apply for GoogleAdsense. There is some debate whether it’s worth it to have an Adsense account since they don’t make you a ton of money. Once you have consistent traffic over 25,000 pageviews, you can apply for larger ad companies and make a lot more money.
- Money made on ads is directly related to your blog’s traffic.
- Affiliate marketing
- Most bloggers start with Amazon Affiliates. This lets you link to products on Amazon and earn a small commission (like 5-10%) on each purchase made with a link on their site.
- I also recommend ShareaSale. With this program, there are thousands of companies that are looking for brand affiliates, and you can apply to each individual company. The commissions vary for each one, so definitely do your research.
- Sponsored Posts
- This is when a company pays you a specific amount to promote their product.
If you go into blogging with the mindset that it is your job, you are not going to create good content. Think of it as a hobby, and write about things you are passionate about. Your readers will see right through you if you don’t like what you’re doing!
Stick with it.
There will be long days. Many thoughts of self doubt and “is this worth it?”
Well, at least there was for me.
But suddenly, a post will go viral, your stats will boom, and you’ll feel an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Or you’ll have someone email or message you saying they are so grateful for your writing, because it helped them in some way.
And that makes it ALL worth it.
You can TOTALLY do this. I believe in you!
You can start your own blog and be successful. And, you can make money blogging. Say it on repeat!
Think about what your life would look like if you could make extra cash while being home.
And always feel free to comment below or message me if you get stuck — I truly want to help!